Minority Business Group Blasts Lottery Through Billboards

Lottery Billboard
Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council

The Connecticut lottery is more than willing to take money from minorities but does not invest in minority communities, a minority business group is claiming through billboards that have gone up in the Hartford area.

The Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council has launched a campaign that started with two billboards in the Hartford area.

The campaign will grow unless changes are made to how the lottery contributes in minority communities, council leaders said in a news release issued on Wednesday – the day the state’s first Democratic governor is 20 years was sworn in.

Of the $275 million the lottery returns to the state, $20,000 went to minority-owned business contracts, the Council said, and more than $217,000 in contracts went to businesses owned by white women, the council said.

The council wants to see changes in the Lottery Board of Directors to represent minority business and community interest and a change in lottery leadership to reflect the state population.

The Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council is asking that at least 10 percent of the funds the lottery provides the state to be spent specifically for minority business development and to establish fund to provide college scholarships for inner city and minority high school graduates, among other requests.

“Because of the paucity of MBE contracts let by the CLC, the GNEMSDC is engaging in a marketing campaign of our own, asking the minority community and other fair minded people to consider where their money is going and what is being done with it when they play these games,” Fred McKinney, President and CEO of the GNEMSDC, said in a news release.

“The Connecticut Lottery Corporation fully complies with the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services’ set-aside program and has significantly exceeded those goals on an annual basis," lottery officials said in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon. " “We are proud of our record of support for the local business community and will continue our long-established practice to purchase from small and minority-owned businesses whenever possible.  Statements that assert otherwise are a gross misrepresentation of the CT Lottery’s commitment to diversity, purchasing practices, and support for the local business communities.

State law says that businesses owned by women -- minority or otherwise -- count as minority-owned businesses, the Hartford Business Journal reports.

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